Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics

Florida State University-Valencia Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics

  • Host University

    Florida State University-Valencia Study Center

  • Location

    Valencia, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics
    Florida State University, Valencia, Spain
    Course Credits: 3

    Course Description:
    The objective of this course is twofold: first of all, to show the main key features of different political systems around the world. These features will include political institutions, policies, political history and philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed in specific European individual countries, the European Union institutions and China. The second aspect to consider is the way theory applies to reality.

    will be matched with practical exercises and students are expected to play an active role in the different activities that will be proposed. They will include at least a "simulation game", debates and follow-up of contemporary politics. The course will include visits to political institutions in the city and, agenda permitting, meetings with a political representative or person active in the political scenario. Politics is not just something to study, but an issue to know and to exercise during your life as citizen. Thus, your ACTIVE PARTICIPATION is required.

    The course is designed to a) help you identify and compare different political cultures, and b) to enhance you awareness about the different political processes taking place nowadays. To reach these objectives we will use different methods, such as debates, political quiz, visits, debates based on articles, films and essays.

    Other objectives are:
    - To become aware of the reasons why democracy is not a world-wide institution, and the fact that it has many different nuances depending of the geographic/cultural area or historic factors.
    - To underline the importance of respect towards other political cultures as a first step to understand factors that might escape a first sight from a Western point of view.
    - To understand that all political institutions are subject to time and, therefore, our concepts must be flexible enough to include new phenomena taking place now and in the near future and at the same time to take into account this fact when we consider past political institutions and/or systems.

    Required Course Materials:
    Book: Essentials of comparative politics (2nd edition) (2007), Patrick H. O?Neil. W W Norton and Company. ISBN: -0-393-92876-4.

    Attending class and class activities (debates, visits, simulation games) IS MANDATORY in this course. Class meets once a week (Wednesday) from 15:00 pm to 18:00 pm in the classroom or outside the classroom. Students will not be allowed to have any unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence will reduce the final grade number by one letter grade (e.g. if a student were to receive an A-, his/her final grade would be B+ instead).

    Excused absences comprise the following: participation in a scheduled event as a member of a university-sponsored athletic/scholastic team (official absence form required); religious holidays; accident or illness (accident report or FSU health/doctor's note required); and death in the immediate family. Excuses for absences must be submitted within two (2) days after the day of return.

    Students are responsible for making up all work missed during absences. Students may not make up graded work for unexcused absences (see Assessment policy below). Students must be sure to come to class and class activities on time! Two considerable "lates" equal one unexcused absence.

    Except in the case of excused absences or extreme extenuating circumstances the following will be the policy of this class: 1) late assignments will not be accepted, 2) there will be no "make-up's" of quizzes or exams, 3) no quizzes or exams will be given early. The passing grade for this course is C- (70). No curves are applied to grades in this class.

    1. Class performance (25%): Your attendance, interest, enthusiasm and contribution in every class meeting will be observed. You MUST have the material read before class, and people will be called at random to discuss the readings, and your homework. Students are suggested to follow through the newspapers what is going on around the world, in order to be able to apply what they will learn with the present reality.

    2. Simulation game, debates and homework (25%): a. Preparation and participation in the simulation game (s) (10%) Students are expected to show the ability to work both individually and in a group. The instructor will establish the format and due dates.
    b. Homework (15 %). During the course you will be proposed different issues to write on and, depending on the subject, in some cases they will be discussed in class.

    3. Exams (50%): There will be 2 in-class exams/papers (25% and 25% respectively) consisting of a combination of multiple-choice, true/false, short answer and essay questions. The dates for the exams are listed on the Course Outline. NB/No assignments or homework will be delivered via e-mail. Final Grade components and Grading Scale:

    City Fieldtrips: We will make some visits to places of interest and/or different political institutions in/or around the city of Valencia to see how they work. You will be expected to travel from Campus and find your way downtown (and pay the cost of public transportation).

    Students with Disabilities:
    Students with disabilities or attention deficit disorder needing academic accommodations should a) register in and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), and b) bring a letter to the instructor from the SDRC indicating their accommodation needs. They can perform similar appropriate actions as required at FSU Valencia Study Center. This should be done during the first week of classes. This syllabus and other course materials could be made available in an alternative format upon request.

    Academic Honor Code
    Honors Statement:
    The Academic Honor system of Florida State University is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility (1) to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in the student's own work, (2) to refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in the University community, and (3) to foster a high sense of integrity and social responsibility on the part of the University community. Students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Code published in The Florida State University Bulletin and the Student Handbook.

    Final Considerations:
    - Please be aware of the fact that this is a "flexible" syllabus, and it may be necessary to modify it throughout the semester due to pedagogical considerations. Any changes, however, will be minimal.

    Class performance (25%): (Participation and attention)
    Writings, simulation game and homework (25%):
    Preparation and participation in the simulation game (10%)and homework (15%)
    Exams (50%): There will be 2 in-class exams (25% and 25% respectively)

    Grading Scale:
    94-100 A
    90-93 A-
    87-89 B+
    84-86 B
    80-83 B-
    77-79 C+
    74-76 C
    70-73 C-
    67-69 D+
    64-66 D
    60-63 D-
    00-59 F

    CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics Florida State University, Valencia, Spain
    Course Credits: 3

    Please be aware that this is a flexible outline and it may be modified due to pedagogical

    - Course Introduction
    - Chapter 1: Introduction
    - Discussion on current issues worldwide

    - Chapter 2: States
    - Documentary and debate

    - Chapter 3: Nations and Society
    - Explanation of the simulation game rules

    - Chapter 4: Political economy
    - Explanation of the European Union.

    - Chapter 5 Authoritarianism and totalitarianism
    - Film

    - Exam lessons 1-4

    - Chapter 6: Democracy
    - Activity on previous homework.

    - Chapter 7 Advanced democracies
    - Simulation game I

    - Chapter 8 Communism and post-communism
    - Activity on transparency and governance. Future of our democracies

    - Final review before the exam
    - Film

    - Exam 5-8

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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